The UK housing market is cracking under homelessness problems and thousands of unused properties. West London, one of the wealthiest parts of the UK, is flooded with houses that are barely occupied because foreign investors use them as investment opportunities.
- About 216,000 homes have been empty for 6 months
- More than 11,000 homes in the UK have been empty for over 10 years
- The number of people sleeping on the streets in England has increased by 134% since 2011
- The government claims to be investing over £1bn by 2020 to tackle homelessness
There is a persistent and growing homelessness problem across the UK. And while there is an excess of unused properties, a number of issues prevent local councils from putting families back in those empty homes.
In December, about 78,000 families in England were living in temporary accommodation, and the number of people sleeping in the streets continues to grow. Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and member of parliament for Twickenham, denounced the current system.
“Councils need to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use,” Mr. Cable recommended. “This must form part of a wider package to tackle the housing crisis, including building more homes on unused public sector land and clamping down on land-banking.”
A spokesperson for The Department for Communities and Local Governments responded: “We’re implementing the major changes to law and investing over £1bn to 2020 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.”